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Synbiotics May Help Obese Kids Lose Weight

Previous research suggests there may be a link between gut microbiota and obesity in adults. In a pilot study examining the association between gut microbiota and obesity in children, researchers found that combining exercise and a reduced calorie diet with a synbiotic supplement may help children lose weight.

Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.

Participants in the study included 77 obese children. All of them were placed on a reduced calorie diet and instructed to follow a physical activity program for one month. Half of the children were also given a synbiotic supplement daily in addition to the other interventions.

At the conclusion of the study, 64% of the control and 71% of the synbiotic group lost weight. Additionally, the percentage of children who lost weight was higher in the synbiotic group than in the control group when compared with baseline weight.

The researchers also noted improved lipid measures in the synbiotic group, including decreased serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels as well as reduced oxidative stress, triceps skinfold thickness, and lower BMI.

Researchers from Eskisehir Osmangazi University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 25, 2015, in Beneficial Microbes.

While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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